The pictures by the Austrian photographer Erich Lessing are world-famous. His legendary photo of Leopold Figl and the Allied foreign ministers on the balcony of the Belvedere at the signing of the Austrian State Treaty has become an icon of the new Austria. Lessing experienced the persecution and deportation of his family from Vienna. He himself managed to flee to Palestine and was able to make a career of his youthful hobby.
He started working as a photographer, and after his return to Austria he became a photo reporter for Associated Press in 1947, member of Magnum Photos and, in 1956, the chronicler of the Hungarian Uprising. His pictures of the Israeli countryside, taken over many years, evoke the scenery of the Bible.
The Jewish Museum Vienna’s exhibition series “Vienna and the world after 1945” focuses on the period from 1945 to 2015. Hannah Lessing, Secretary General of the Austrian National Fund, has made a highly personal selection of her father’s photos for an exhibition at Museum Judenplatz that shows a fascinating cross-section of the Erich Lessing’s oeuvre. It includes not only his historical photos and the magnificent Israeli landscapes, but also a historical retrospective of life in post-war Austria and Europe.
“Lessing on Lessing” provides a private insight into the work of the great Austrian photographer, from his political documentary photos to the “girls of the sixties.”
Source: Jewish Museum Vienna
Curator: Danielle Spera
Photo: Leopold Figl and sigantory powers present the state treaty at the balcony of the Upper Belvedere 1955 /© VBK/Lessing